Lebanon has a good chance of attracting oil and gas companies for at least a couple of the ten blocks that have been put on offer this year, according to the country’s former prime minister Fouad Siniora.

Speaking at the Gulf Intelligence UAE Energy Forum in Dubai, Siniora said that the country had “good prospects” for proven reserves of gas in Lebanese waters.

The newly formed Lebanese cabinet passed two decrees on 5 January to allow the re-start of tendering process of its oil and gas blocks. The country has an estimated 96 trillion cubic feet of gas and 865 million barrels of oil. However some of these reserves, which are off the coasts of Lebanon and Israel, are contested by both countries.

“Most of the surveys that have been made indicate that there are good chances of having gas in our special economic zone,” said Siniora.

“There are great prospects that Lebanon will be able to have a good bidding round sometime later this year. Irrespective of the normal risks that might take place in the region, Lebanon will be in a position to make this round work and probably we may have good interested parties for one or two of these blocks,” he added.

Lebanon formed a government in October 2016, after three years of political deadlock, with Saad Hariri sworn in as prime minister of the country. Beirut has been moving to revive its economy that has been riddled with rising debt, stalled growth and an influx of refugees.